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Congress Moves SCHIP Forward; GOP Debates Minority Issues

The showdown between Congress and President Bush over the State Children's Health Insurance Program intensified, while a handful of Republican presidential hopefuls talked about minority issues during a debate on Thursday. Political analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the week's news.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Next, to the analysis of Shields and Brooks, with Judy Woodruff in charge.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Gentlemen, good to see you on this Friday evening.

    David, it looks as if the president is going to veto this expansion of the children's health program, named S-CHIP. Is there any chance that the people who support it can prevail here?

  • DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times:

    No, he's going to veto it. And it follows this long political train where Republicans have said in their chief conclusion about 2006 was, "We've lost our soul. We've lost our fiscal conservative soul, so we've got to start vetoing stuff."

    So the Democrats looked around — and primarily Rahm Emanuel looked around — and said, "What's something we really want that is politically murderous for them to veto? We'll hand them that. They can veto it if they want."

    And so for the Democrats, it's great politics and it's great policy. But Bush is going to stick with his guns, in part because they really do have to reestablish their fiscal conservative soul, and in part because they actually do believe it's bad policy.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    So it's that calculating, you're saying?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    Well, I mean, politics and politics interweave, and they've interwoven here. And the Republicans say basically it's an early battle over a big health care debate, with Republicans saying we want to give tax credits to people so they can individually choose health care, the Democrats saying, no, that doesn't work, we want more government involved in health care insurance. And this is like the little skirmish of what will follow.

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